St. Methodius was born and raised at Syracuse in Sicily. He received an excellent education and when he finished studying, he decided to sail to Constantinople to seek an important job at the emperor's court.
During his travels, he met a holy monk who had long and deep chats with him. All his doubts about God and eternity came to Methodius' mind. The monk helped him see that to find real joy in life he should give himself to God in religious life.
Methodius was convinced. So when he arrived in Constantinople, he avoided the palace and went to a monastery instead. He later built a monastery on the island of Chinos. Soon after finishing construction, Methodius was called by the Patriarch of Constantinople to help govern the diocese.
In those days, the Christians were having serious difficulties in Constantinople. Some felt that it was wrong to have religious pictures and icons. There were bitter fights between those who thought that people were praying to the picture or statue and those who venerated the saints as models that inspired them and helped draw them closer to God.
The emperor agreed with the people who thought that pictures and statues were evil. St. Methodius, on the other hand, did not agree with the emperor. He understood why Christians needed pictures and statues and tried to make peace between the two sides. He was chosen to go to Rome and ask the pope to straighten out the situation.
When he returned, the angry emperor had him put in prison for seven years. Methodius suffered in a dark, damp prison but he would not let his spirit be crushed. He knew that Jesus would use his sufferings to help the Church.
Finally, in 842 the emperor died leaving behind a baby son. His wife, Theodora was made ruler until her son was old enough to rule. Theodora thought very differently from her husband. She felt that people should be free to have statues, icons and sacred pictures if they wanted them.
Methodius and those who had suffered for a long time were joyfully set free. One of the people who had made St. Methodius suffer the most was sent into exile by the empress. Then Methodius became the patriarch of Constantinople. The people loved him very much.
St. Methodius worked to maintain peace and unity between the people. He wrote beautiful essays about theology and the spiritual life. He also wrote lives of saints and poetry. Methodius finally died, four years after becoming patriarch, on June 14, 847.